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The Lotus Seven S4 (Type 60) was provided standard with 5 1 / 2 " x 13" pressed steel 'bolt-on’ wheels with chromium plated hub-caps ( [link] ). As an upgrade 5 1 / 2 " x 13" light alloy 'bolt-on' Brand Lotus rims were available at extra cost ( [link] ). Both wheels were supplied with either 165 x 13” Dunlop SP Sport or Goodyear G800 radial tires as standard.

A Seven S4 fitted with the pressed steel 'bolt-on’ wheels with chromium plated hub-caps.
A view of the Brand Lotus wheels as fitted to the Seven S4.

Wheel restoration

Several of the tires on LBS4/2894/GT had burst as a result of fire damage, and all of the road wheels showed smoke damage ( [link] ). No physical damage appears to have occurred as a consequence of the fire; however, one of the wheels shows some indication of damage due to curbing. As a consequence of being mounted at the back of the car and hence the furthest from the fire, the spare wheel showed only limited damage other than that expected for a wheel of its age ( [link] ).

One of the fire damaged Brand Lotus alloy wheels.
The Brand Lotus alloy wheel used as the spare.

Each wheel was initially media blasted to clean of all the paint and fire damage in order to determine whether any structural damage occurred; however, the wheels appear suitable to use for street applications.

It is never advised to use “original” wheels for racing applications. New steel or alloy wheels should be used for any track, rally, or race uses.

The wheels were cleaned, polished, painted, and clear coated by Wheel Wizard ( www.wheelwizard.com ) in order to return them to the original style ( [link] ). One of the finished wheels is shown in [link] and [link] .

A copy of the original advertising for the Brand Lotus wheels (Lotus Cars, Ltd.).
View of coated and finished wheels as finished by Wheel Wizard ( www.wheelwizard.com ).
View of coated and finished wheels as finished by Wheel Wizard ( www.wheelwizard.com ).

Lug nuts

The original lug nuts were damaged by age and possibly the fire. The stud has a right hand pitch of 7 / 16 ” x 20 and replacement items are available from Redline Components, Ltd ( [link] ).

One of the new lug nuts (A) with its collar in comparison with (B) two of the original items with and without the collar.

Tires

The original size tires were 165/70 x 13”. Unfortunately, in the US this size is not as readily obtained, and so an alternative size was chosen. However, it is important when choosing alternative tire sizes that the overall rolling diameter is kept as consistent so that the speedometer reads correctly. A useful tool for choosing alternative tire sizes is provided on the www.Miata.net web site. It allows for the calculation of diameter, circumference, and speedometer correction when comparing two different sizes of tire. [link] shows the comparison of the original size and potential sizes of available tires.

Comparison of original specification (165/70-13) versus potential alternative sizes. Note: a negative difference results in the speedometer reading higher than with the stock tires.
Specification Sidewall (in) Diameter (in) Circumference (in) Difference (%)
165/70-13 4.5 22.1 69.4 n/a
175/65-13 4.5 22.0 69.0 +0.6
175/70-13 4.8 22.6 71.1 -2.5

Based upon this program it was decided to use the 175/70-13. Tire Rack ( www.tirerack.com ) stocked a small selection of this size including the Kumho Solus KE21 ( [link] ) and 722 ( [link] ), the Michelin Defender ( [link] ), and the Sumitomo HTR T4 ( [link] ).

The tread pattern on the Kumho Solus KE21.
The tread pattern on the Kumho 722.
View of the sidewall and tread pattern on the Michelin Defender.
The tread pattern on the Sumitomo HTR T4.

Since all the tires available have a similar tread pattern, and the tires will simply be used for storage during the restoration and for initial testing, it was decided to use a set of Sumitomo HTR T4. [link] shows a view of one of the tires mounted on the restored wheel.

View of one of the restored Brand Lotus wheels with a Sumitomo HTR T4 mounted.

Resources

  • Wheel Wizard, 3695 Longview Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. Tel: +1 770 451 6333. www.wheelwizard.com .
  • Moss Motors, Ltd. 440 Rutherford Street, Goleta, CA 93117, USA. Tel: +1 800 667 7872 or +1 805 681 3400. www.mossmotors.com .
  • Tire Rack, 7101 Vorden Parkway, South Bend, IN 46628. Tel: +1 888 541 1777. www.tirerack.com .

Bibliography

  • D. Ortenburger, Legend of the Lotus Seven , Mercian Press (1987).
  • J. Coulter, Lotus Seven , Amadeus Press (1995).
  • Miata.net Tire Size Calculator. www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html .

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Source:  OpenStax, Lotus seven s4 (type 60): design, restoration, and maintenance. OpenStax CNX. Jun 07, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11418/1.19
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